Trade union unhappy with partial reopening of hospitality sector

Ljubljana – Although the hospitality sector has been eagerly awaiting at least a partial reopening, it is unhappy with the government’s decision to reopen only outdoor facilities in eight of Slovenia’s 12 regions with the best epidemiological situation. There, outdoor facilities will operate from 7am to 7pm for a week from Monday, 19 April.

The Trade Union of Hospitality and Tourism is worried about the businesses without outdoor gardens or terraces, urging reopening for the entire sector.

It notes in Thursday’s statement the industry has been closed since 19 October, which is causing greater damage than if they had worked by abiding to precautionary measures.

The government decided yesterday to allow outdoor hospitality in the regions of Goriška, Gorenjska, Obalno-Kraška, Pomurska, Posavska, Podravska, Koroška and Zasavska.

Guests will have to sit at a table to get served, with distance between tables set at 3 metres and between guests at 1.5 metres.

A maximum of four persons will be allowed to sit at one table, including from different households.

Since the night curfew was lifted in the entire country on Monday, customers can pick up their orders (goods, food and drinks) at take-away spots around the clock.

Economy Ministry State Secretary Simon Zajc hopes the reopening will bring some optimism among people, while he also urges adherence to NIJZ recommendations.

“What happens after a week depends on all of us, on the extent to which we are ready to stick to NIJZ rules,” he said at today’s government coronavirus briefing.

The government has not yet discussed introducing the Italian model which allows indoor hospitality under certain conditions, saying “we’ll see if some change should be made in the future”.

The trade union meanwhile says that if restaurants and hotels can be open for politicians, business meetings and sport events, they should open for all so that hospitality workers can work and live off their pay.

It stresses that hospitality workers have been at home for seven months receiving only 80% of their pay as part of the furlough scheme, while it demands 100%.

“Their situation is becoming increasingly difficult, there is ever more distress and battles to survive,” the union says, urging the government to address their situation in the next economic stimulus bill.